It’s PigPen and the Peanuts Gang!
…Good Grief !
The Christmas decoration has been a long time in the making. It started about 12 years ago when a friend mowed down a very small pine tree sapling in our backyard with a lawnmower. After that it started to re-grow so I just left it and mowed around it for a few years. Well it grew really crooked.
One day my wife Jean and I were looking at it wondering what we could do with such an ugly tree. Jean suggested that the only thing that it was good for was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. That was the start of a never-ending project. I made the Charlie and Lucy that fall. Then two years later I made Snoopy and the motorized Woodstock flying over Snoopy’s head. Then a year or two later I made the Linus with the blanket. Then 2 years ago I made the Schroder playing the piano.
This year was my masterpiece (In my opinion) The Pig Pen with the fiber optic dirt. Fiber optics are something new for me and I thought that this would work well for my Pig Pen project.
The Peanuts Thumbnails
Click on photo to see the FULL image !
The Light Source
The light source is homemade stainless steel box W/ four legs to keep it away from the wood that it is mounted to. And it uses a 12 volt MR-16 Halogen bulb and a spotlight fixture from a track light. I made this adjustable on the box with the wing nuts that came with the light so I could get the best focal point on the light.
The original base for the light with the 120-volt to12-volt transformer is in a track light rail above the figures with some other lights for the display. All I did to modify this fixture was to solder and shrink-wrap connections on to12 feet of wire on the 12-volt side of the transformer and snap the base onto an existing track light rail. The fiber end of the box has two 1/2 inch electrical cord grips to hold 1/2 inch copper tubing. There could have been up to four of them but I only needed two for this project.
The fiber optic bundles I assembled myself, with bread ties (as temporary holders) and heat shrink tubing to finish the bundles. (BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN HEATING SHRINK WRAP YOU COULD MELT THE OPTICAL FIBERS) The bundles are fed through 1/2 inch diameter copper tubes and heat shrunk on. (Make sure that these are completely free from sharp edges or it will ruin the fibers or the connector).
I also made all the ends flush and glued the bundle through the tube with about 1/4 inch sticking out the end of the tube. I used Devcon 5-minute epoxy to glue everything with. After everything dried (the next day) I sanded this bundle with progressively finer and finer emery cloth until it had a mirror finish.
Now looking back only things that I would change on this project would be to use less short, large diameter fibers and more long, small diameter fibers. (it’s way easier to cut a few fibers shorter after the fact than it is to redo the entire bundle). Also when making the bundle instead of running all the fibers parallel to each other, I would make them into a spray so they all ran different directions to give it a more random look.
Unique Project, Thanks Steve & Jean!
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